When it comes to marketing your business, one of the more useful concepts you will come across is customer personas. A well-created and used persona can improve your marketing, boost your sales and help you to improve the way you serve your customers. Here’s our quick-start guide to using them.

What is a customer persona?

In short, a customer persona is a profile of your target customers, but to be useful it should be as detailed as possible, many companies even give their persona a name, and it’s not a new trend – Seventeen magazine’s marketing team have been targeting ‘Teena the teenage girl’ since 1944. The idea is to get a full picture of the person you hope to sell to, which may mean that you need to create several to cover various types of customers. Your customer persona should give a clear picture of your target customer, some of the questions to consider are:

  • How old are they?
  • Are they a man or a woman?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What is their income?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What are their interests?
  • What is their family like – are they married? Do they have children?
  • What are their likes and dislikes?
  • What motivates them – especially when they are buying the products and services you offer?

How do you write one?

You might already have an idea in your head of who your target customer is, but it’s best to try to base your customer persona on data, to make sure you are targeting the right people. There are various ways to find this information:

  • Existing customers – if your business is established then you already have a sample of people who buy your products or services. Think about the people you serve every day; you can even invite them to take part in a questionnaire to help you build your customer persona.
  • Social media – if your company has a Facebook page, Twitter account or Instagram feed, then you will be able to see demographic information for your followers. It is important to remember that not all followers are buyers, but it does give you a good starting point. If you are buying social media advertising, then you will be able to see information on people that click on your ads.
  • Survey data – commissioning your own consumer survey might be out of your budget, but the good news is that the information is already available to you. Registering for a free account at YouGov Profiles lets you search customer profiles on thousands of products, based on their extensive lifestyle surveys.

How does your customer persona help you?

A well crafted customer person will help you in two key areas of your business – reaching new customers and meeting customer expectations.

  • Reaching new customers – modern digital advertising, whether through Facebook, Twitter or google adwords, is highly targetable. Your customer profile allows you to serve ads only to people that are likely to buy your product, saving you time and money. Knowing what matters to your target customer will also let you create ad content that speaks to their needs and avoids the things they dislike.
  • Meeting your customers’ expectations – Your customer persona shows you the motivations, likes and dislikes of your target customer. This means that you can tailor the service that you offer to meet their needs. Perhaps next-day delivery is a driving factor when they buy your goods, in which case you might offer it as standard, or perhaps they prefer to buy from a physical store, making your shop more important than your website.

Customer personas are about getting to know the person you want to sell to, so that you can market to the right people, and give them the best possible experience.

How did you get to know your customers’ motivations? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.